A translation into German was published in ; an English translation by Wendayne Ackerman, based on the German one, was published in A direct translation into English from Polish, by Bill Johnston, was published in A very powerful and armed interstellar space ship called Invincible lands on the planet Regis III, which seems uninhabited and bleak, to investigate the loss of her sister ship , Condor. During the investigation, the crew finds evidence of a form of quasi-life, born through evolution of autonomous, self-replicating machines , apparently left behind by an alien civilization ship which landed, with a crew dead from an accident, on Regis III a very long time ago. The protagonists come to speculate that evidently a kind of evolution must have taken place under the selection pressures of "robot wars", with the only surviving form being swarms of minuscule, insect -like micromachines. Individually, or in small groups, they are quite harmless and capable of only very simple behavior.
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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Wendayne Ackerman Translator. A translation into German was published in ; an English translation by Wendayne Ackerman, based on the German one, was published in An interstellar 2nd-class cruiser called Invincible, lands on Regis III, a planet that seems bleakly uninhabited.
Invincible, and crew, are there to investigate the loss of sister ship, Condor. While maintaining the highest security measures, the crew begins searching for the lost Condor. Meanwhile, scientists start researching the planet, trying to identify sources of potential danger. During the search for the lost ship unknown structures are discovered, probably forming the equivalent of an Earth city.
While a group of explorers scouts out the ruins, the Condor is found three hundred kilometers away roughly miles away. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
To ask other readers questions about The Invincible , please sign up. Is it just me or does this sound incredibly similar to the themes and concepts in the Alien series?
Boris There is similarity in that there is a mystery surrounding the demise of a prior exploratory mission, possibly but not obviously due to an alien pre …more There is similarity in that there is a mystery surrounding the demise of a prior exploratory mission, possibly but not obviously due to an alien presence on the planet. There is also some similarity in how Lem addresses the human failing of hubris, which is similarly addressed in the Alien series. However, the central concepts or story are very different.
See all 3 questions about The Invincible…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of The Invincible. Jun 30, Thomas Beekers rated it really liked it. This science fiction tale by Stanislaw Lem is easily missed or dismissed as just a space romp, but it is much more than that.
A crew land their gigantic, overbuilt and overpowered "Invincible" starship on a planet, trying to find out what happened to the previous starship that landed here. Soon they find out mankind with all their technology is not as Invincible as they'd hoped, and a "mystery" story begins as they try to find out what it is that lives on this planet. The latter part of the book This science fiction tale by Stanislaw Lem is easily missed or dismissed as just a space romp, but it is much more than that.
The latter part of the book deals with the confrontation with these beings. Like many of Lem's book, it is ultimately about challenging human's default conception of seeing themselves as the center of the universe, and what space travel could truly mean: encountering and dealing with beings who are so different in their genesis and evolution that we simply can not hope to understand them.
In the Invincible, this lack of understanding leads to violent confrontation, which adds to the core message of "we can not understand everything" with "we can not conquer everything". He refused to join.
Basically he felt he got stiffed for payment for the translation and blamed Lem for this. So there was a lot of misunderstanding with Lem and the Western SF world.
However, as time has passed there have been many more English translations of his works, including a number of retranslations and audiobook versions, which has brought his work to the attention of newer readers again. His most famous book is Solaris written in in Polish see my review of the book as well as the Tarkovsky film and Soderbergh film versions , which was not translated into English until from the French edition, rather than the original Polish.
It finally received a direct Polish-to-English translation from Bill Johnston and an audiobook version in Similarly, The Invincible was first published in Polish in , then translated to German in , but only received an English translation of the German version in The audiobook has just become available from Tantor Audio, narrated by Peter Berkrot and based on the Bill Johnston translation, so it was a perfect opportunity to rediscover a classic Lem story.
Turning to The Invincible itself, it is a classic take of alien contact and rumination on the nature of human and non-human in this case non-organic intelligence, and the possible futility of trying to communicate with a truly alien intelligence at all.
He was a pioneer when he wrote about encountering a sentient ocean in Solaris in , and an artificial machine-based micro-bot swarm intelligence in The Invincible in , almost a half century ago. One wonders how much more influence he might have had on the Western SF scene if his works had been translated more quickly and accurately than they were. In any case, The Invincible is the story of an heavily-armed exploration ship that sets out to discover what happened to The Condor, a similar ship that landed on the uninhabited and desolate planet Regis III before losing contact without warning.
They then discover The Condor, still intact and largely undamaged, hundreds of kilometers from the city. Then they have their first encounter with an ominous and metallic cloud that emits a strong electromagnetic field and interferes with their communications. Things quickly spiral downward as they realize they are dealing with an artificial machine intelligence that does not possess higher consciousness, but is perfectly capable of destroying human technology and mental functions, and even the mighty anti-matter weaponry of the Invincible.
There are various arguments among the crew, particularly the captain and the first navigator, Rohan, who is the main character in the story, about how to confront this implacable alien swarm intelligence, one that hardly seems aware of the pitiful human presence on the planet. Ostensibly they are there to discover the crew of The Condor, but their whole mission comes into question, and by extension the whole justification for human exploration of strange and hostile worlds is also put under the microscope.
Hamilton or Alastair Reynolds , but Lem is very much a modern philosopher, ruthlessly stripping away the pretensions of the Western idea that humanity has a Manifest Destiny to explore and conquer the universe. The themes he prefers to explore are what intelligence and consciousness are, and what their role is in a large and uncaring universe.
Rather than the naive optimism of American SF, he painted an often bleak canvas of the limitations of human ambition. Given that perspective, it is quite fascinating how popular his works became. There is a depth of intellectual rigor and refusal to provide escapism in his books that appeals to me, and I hope he will find more readers thanks to the new translations and audiobook versions. View 1 comment. Luckily, I read the book in Serbian translation which was fairly good, so I didn't have to bother about it having been originally translated into German and then into English.
Brilliant little book and such a sad story. It aroused so many conflicting emotions in me. At one point, I was infuriated by the crew's insistence on staying on Regis III and meddling with its ecosystem, and yet I was so startled when their plan to use the Cyclops backfired on them. Once again, Lem successfully sets out the Luckily, I read the book in Serbian translation which was fairly good, so I didn't have to bother about it having been originally translated into German and then into English.
A few reviewers complained about the apparent absence of women in the story. Well, we don't know anything about the culture of the period. Perhaps women had chosen to not be involved in interstellar travel for moral or health reasons.
Or maybe Lem believed it wouldn't be a good idea to introduce female characters, because persons with reduced mental activity are naturally left alone by the swarms on Regis III, so the book wouldn't be fun to read whatsoever. Ever wondered why women are placed in a separate category whenever it comes to playing chess? What's also amazing about this story is its profound alienness : like in "Solaris", the surroundings, events and creatures on the planet have a genuinely extraterrestrial touch which gives them an atypical authenticity.
Mar 30, P. As they begin the searching, they discover neither amphibians nor land animals. Flora and fauna are found to stick to the oceans, as though they were wary of the continents My thoughts : I particularly appreciate how you are made to discover the geology, the biosphere, the Condor wreck, little by little. This story stands as a prime example of information withheld and given oh so graudally. There is no way I close that book before I discover what exactly are these weird ruins At the end of the day, you have to piece it together by yourself : there is nowhere to look for a global, godlike vision of the whys and hows!
For those who liked Solaris, please be my guest : Some of my reservations : - The balance between action and theory can be a bit off at times. Come to think of it, isn't this giving a faithful image of mankind?
If you don't succeed, try again with the same setting, the same crew, the same line of action, and call an air strike too. Dick's short stories on self-replicating machines or Neumann machines. View all 13 comments. Jun 07, Jamie rated it it was amazing. Do we need to travel everywhere, bringing destructive power on our ships, so as to smash anything that runs counter to our understanding?
Lem was an amazing out-of-the-box thinker, imaging aliens and alien concepts that go far beyond what most people can fathom. Aliens that are so different they're nearl "How many extraordinary phenomena like this, so foreign to human comprehension, might lie concealed in space?
Aliens that are so different they're nearly incomprehensible, sharing no common ground with humanity.